Lexus GS Saloon 2005 - 2011

Lexus GS Saloon 2005 - 2011

Review by it
Monday, May 16, 2016

Pros:

  • The top of the range engine is extremely quick
  • All models are extremely smooth, quiet and refined
  • It comes with plenty of kit for your money
  • There is a hybrid model

Cons:

  • No diesel engines available

Overview

The Lexus GS is an excellent alternative to the BMW 5-Series and for those who want something different. It comes with an excellent range of powerful engines, including a very sophisticated hybrid unit, which are all coupled to extremely smooth and accurate automatic gearboxes. Inside the GS is just as good with only the highest quality materials being used. It is extremely spacious being able to seat four adults in comfort and style.

Exterior and Interior

The GS is a good looking car and rightly competes alongside the like of the BMW 5-Series with its sleek design and luxurious interior. Inside there is plenty of space for four adults to sit in comfort with even the back seat passengers receiving plenty of head and leg room. The transmission tunnel takes up vital legroom in the back making it difficult to get three passengers on the back seats and the heating ventilation for the front seats does take up vital foot space. All of the chairs are extremely comfortable and supportive making even the longest of journeys enjoyable. The boot is huge with only the tallest of drivers being able to reach the whole way into it. The boot in the hybrid is slightly smaller though as the rechargeable batteries do take up some of the space. It does come with an optional four piece set of luggage that has been designed to make the most of the space. The interior feels classy and has been finished to a very high standard with the dash and central console being logically laid out and easy to use. There is also a touch screen on the dash that controls the sat-nav and other functions, it is Lexus’ answer to BMW’s iDrive, but is a lot easier to use. There is also a drop down panel in the dash that stores all the less used controls such as the petrol cap release and wing mirror controls which helps to reduce clutter. There are only two trims to choose from with the Standard level giving you plenty of equipment for your money such as swiveling headlights, touch screen controls, climate control and a CD multichanger. The next level up the SE adds a few extra luxuries such as an electric sunroof, leather seat trim, a rear parking camera, sat-nav and a telephone.

Performance and Economy

The smallest of the engines is the 3.0-litre V6 and can hardly be called an entry level engine with its 245bhp propelling the GS from 0-60mph in 7 seconds flat. It is also fairly economical, compared to the rest of the petrol engines, achieving 29mpg. There is also the 4.3-litre V8, but we’d go for the engine that replaced it, the 4.6-litre V8 producing 342bhp. It is the fastest engine in the range going from a standing start to 60mph in just 5.6 seconds, whilst still returning 25mpg, making it faster and more economical than the original V8 engine. There is also the option of a hybrid engine that combines a 286bhp petrol engine with a 190bhp electrical unit making it surprisingly quick reaching 60mph in 5.7 seconds, which is only just behind the 4.6-litre V8 engine. It is also the most economical engine in the range at 35mpg, which is an amazing return for such a quick car, but truthfully isn’t as good as you would expect it to be in a hybrid. Insurance costs won’t be cheap with the 3.0-litre model falling into group 16 whilst the V8 and hybrid engines fall into group 18.

Like to Drive

This newer model is much improved over the previous one with much tighter handling and less of a wallowing feeling at higher speeds. The V8 and hybrid models all come with adaptive suspension that helps to give it a sportier feel by stiffening up the suspension and making the steering feel more weighted. There is also very little body roll in the corners and plenty of grip especially when the stability control is on. Without it the GS450h hybrid can easily step out of line especially on the bends. Due to its size and weight it’s more of a motorway cruiser where it cruises exceptionally smoothly with all of the gearboxes changing between gears effortlessly and there is almost no wind or engine noise in the cabin even when the engines are pushed hard.

Faults and Repairs

Lexus usually scores very well in reliability surveys, however, the GS hasn’t proven to be as reliable as some of Lexus’ other models, or the BMW 5-Series for that matter. The areas that are most likely to fail on the GS are the suspension and brakes with everything else holding up fairly well. Servicing costs are fairly expensive as are repairs. There are not many independent specialists around either so you’re more than likely going to end up spending a lot every time you need a service. Because of this some owners may have skimped on services, so make sure that any model you are considering has a full service history as well as regular servicing otherwise the GS can prove problematic.